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Olympic Games lanes introduced from today
THE first day of Olympics-only traffic Games Lanes has caused congestion for rush-hour drivers.
There were jams on a number of roads including the A4 and A40 in west London, Hyde Park Corner and Euston Road.
A total of 30 miles of Games Lanes have been introduced as part of the 109-mile Olympic Route Network (ORN) around London. The lanes, in operation from 6am to midnight throughout the Olympics, run alongside existing lanes and are clearly marked.
Any "ordinary" motorist going into the Games Lanes faces fines of £130, while release fees for impounded vehicles could be £200.
The lanes are being used by authorised "Olympic Family" vehicles. These include vehicles used by athletes, Olympic officials and VIPs, with 1,300 vehicles an hour expected to use them.
Despite repeated warnings to motorists to avoid central London, there were queues around the lanes.
There was congestion on the M4 in west London, while on the nearby A4 there were jams in Chiswick. There were also hold-ups for motorists on the A12 at the Lea Interchange in east London and at the A13 Canning Town Flyover.
The A40 around Ealing and at Westway in west London was also congested, while Grosvenor Place in Victoria in central London and the Hyde Park Corner Junction were also busy. Other areas of London where there were rush-hour jams included Tower Bridge and Baker Street.
In recent days, teams of engineers have been working to put up signs and change some road layouts in preparation for the implementation of the ORN and the lanes. During the period the lanes are operational, some turns have been banned, some bus lanes suspended, some bus and coach stops adjusted and some pedestrian crossings will not be operational.
London mayor Boris Johnson said:"The ORN is a requirement of all host cities, ensuring athletes and officials get to their events on time. We've already slashed its length by one third compared to what was originally planned and we are introducing these changes to the road network as late as possible, to minimise the impact on Londoners and businesses."